UK-France travel: Why second-home owners cannot visit yet

France has lifted restrictions on travel between the UK and France and an essential reason is no longer needed but the UK rules still block visits

12 March 2021
By Connexion journalist

Update: This article was updated on March 24, 2021, to state that people in England can travel to their second homes in France if they are doing so for activities related to buying, selling, renting or letting their second home. 

Reader question: With UK-France travel opening up, can second-home owners visit France soon?

The French government has relaxed restrictions for travel between the UK and France, making it no longer necessary for people to provide an essential reason (motif impérieux) for their journey. 

France eases Covid rules for UK and other non-EU travel

This will also apply to travel to and from France and the UK, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore.

This means that from the French side, people in the UK are now allowed to go on holiday to France or to visit their second homes.

The problem lies on the UK side. It is still not permitted for people to travel abroad for a holiday.

The UK government states on its website: “under current UK Covid-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays”.

However, it is possible for people from England to travel to France - if it is not in a department under extra lockdown rules - if they are going there for reasons related to buying, selling, renting or letting their second home. You can read our article, linked below, that explains the rules. 

France second homes: Is there a change for visits from UK?

Holidays

The earliest date that people from England will be allowed to travel abroad for a holiday is May 17, the government has stated.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not yet announced their plans for allowing trips abroad. 

As long as France does not tighten its travel restrictions again, then the earliest possible date for someone living in the UK to visit their second home in France for a holiday is May 17. 

People living in the UK are only allowed to travel internationally for certain essential reasons. These include professional, educational, legal and medical reasons. Find more information here

Anyone who is able to leave the UK to enter France will need to provide the following documentation (click here for documents):

  • A sworn statement certifying the absence of Covid-19 symptoms and absence of any contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19
  • A sworn statement of willingness to undergo further testing on arrival if asked to do so
  • A sworn statement of willingness to voluntarily self-isolate for seven days and, if aged 11 or more, to undergo a virology screening (PCR) test at the end of the isolation period
  • For those aged 11 years and above, a virology screening test (PCR) carried out less than 72 hours before boarding, showing no Covid-19 contamination

As detailed above, UK residents are currently restricted from travelling abroad apart from in limited circumstances, however the UK states that it is acceptable for those visiting from elsewhere to travel home.

In the case that you have visited the UK from France, you should bring with you evidence of being a French resident, as it may be required on leaving the UK and you should show it on re-entering France so as not to have your passport stamped as a visitor.

This could include a new 'Withdrawal Agreement' residency card, an attestation of having applied for one, or otherwise other evidence such as an EU citizen's residency card or recent utility bills.

Read more:

France eases Covid rules for UK and other non-EU travel

Rural living in France is main attraction for foreign buyers

Selling a second home in France: What has Brexit changed?

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